For some reason, and maybe it's just because I'm an NBA fan, this fact and media reality makes me want to lock myself in the closet and punch myself in the groin until I pass out. I cannot for the life of me understand and it basically pisses me off that this Te'o story takes precedence over something as significant as Lebron's night last night.
In today's social media dominated world, a story about a college football players fake dead girlfriend easily trumps the Lebron James feat even though Lebron's achievement is something we all will see only once in a life time. At least I'd hope there wouldn't be another Heisman Trophy candidate who would carry on a three year relationship with a fake women without ever actually "seeing" her or at least ever asking to Skype or Facetime or use any other video chat medium that is readily available, who then learns said girlfriend has died suddenly of Leukemia, only to find out months later that she didn't die, in fact she never was alive.
I won't bore readers with the complete back drop to the weird Te'o story because more than likely you've already received all the pertinent details through Twitter, Facebook links, ESPN.com, USA Today, TMZ.com, bathroom stall newspaper, barber shop, or any other mainstream media outlet.
To be honest, who gives a shit that this college kid chatted online with some chick and subsequently fell in love. Isn't it similar to when you go to a strip bar and one of your buddies or buddies friends gets $100 worth of champagne room time and then comes back to the group declaring that he's in love and that "Candy" was real into him and that he was going to move with her to Vegas? I heard that's what happens sometimes at a gentleman's establishment anyway?!! (Ed. Note: Tom has never been to a strip bar). Both scenarios are a product of someones naivety.
My overwhelming feeling today though, is that the media attention and general U.S citizen attention paid to this story is much weirder then the story itself. Why are we so enamored with the messed up shit that athletes do? Tiger Woods infidelities got more attention then anything he ever accomplished in golf and he's the best golfer EVER in history. Now, I know some sanctimonious house mom is sitting here reading this (Ed Note: This is our target demographic) saying, "But he's a role model, my kids look up to him". You know what I'd say to that, "Then what's the problem, don't you want your kids to learn that adults make mistakes and this is an imperfect world and that maybe just maybe it's not the best idea to have a professional athlete be your kids role model? How about a fireman or policeman or their dad and if that isn't realistic then maybe someone in history that accomplished something great, I don't fucking know maybe Abe Lincoln!!" I'd make sure the actual kid wasn't there before I cussed more than likely.
Seriously though, is it the reality television that's made every single viewer entitled to know everything about anybodies personal life and then when less than stellar details emerge act like they are well within normal boundaries to mercilessly judge that person choosing to ignore every less then stellar thing they've done? I love going on Facebook and reading some guy just hammer Te'o knowing damn well that the same Facebook guy recently just got fired from his job for showing up drunk and harassing the receptionist.
Lebron on the other hand shatters the age barrier for 20,000 point scorers and does it on a night where he needs 18 points and gets all those points and then some in the first half of the game with an array of tough jump shots, half court alley-oops and beast like drives to the basket dropping defenders off at the cup like a mom at day care. Oh, and on the same night he eclipses the 5,000 assist barrier and becomes the 2nd youngest player in NBA history to get to 20,000 points - 5,000 rebounds - 5,000 assists.
This type of player is a once in a generational type player and sports fans will some day tell their kids and grand kids about Lebron James. I simply just wish extra-ordinary sports achievements garnered more attention from fans and the public then ordinary human screw ups that these same individuals make.
Manti Te'o accomplished more this football season then 99% of college football linebackers have ever achieved. He played in a game just a couple days after losing his grandmother and played like a warrior. I don't care if he knew about the hoax with the girlfriend or not. I'd love to see any Joe Jerk-Off be under that much pressure, scrutiny and lime-light and be able to admit to a white lie that you'd know would bury you for life.
I know for a fact 50 years from now, I'm going to be telling somebody I know about Lebron James and hopefully will have forgotten about the dead girlfriend hoax. Hell, I might even remember and talk about Notre Dame's run to the championship game and their stud linebacker who led them.
Athletes will forever do dumb shit but that's what makes them real and it's really on fans to be able to separate sports from reality. I love sports because it takes me away from reality and allows me to enjoy something that is pure and full of emotion. If I'm going to judge someones personal life and decisions, I think it would do me good to focus on myself because God knows I mess up every single day.
I refuse to blame the media because that's what the media prides themselves on is stories they know will get readers attention. Those same readers on Facebook who will only post status or pictures that create some facade of this wonderful life filled with nothing but good things (eg. Sunset pictures from Key Biscayne where it's 80 degrees and sunny). Maybe Facebook should require that each user must be mandated to post any life event that involves arrests, spousal disputes, firings, smoking, cussing in public, eating a bag of cheetos, drinking on a Sunday, cheating on a test or taxes, oggling of neighbors, friends or strangers wearing barely enough to wad a shot gun, spitting, littering etc. Maybe then would people get a feel for what privacy really means and how privacy shouldn't be a thing delegated to just us normal people.
The headlines had it wrong today. Long live Lebron!!!! And Keku or whatever the fake dead girlfriends name can go to hell and quickly!!